In Police work, we have a saying:

"Train like you work".

Here is an example: Many Police Officers carry a type of holster called a "Retention Holster". This is a holster that may have one or more features that make if very difficult for someone other than the officer to remove the pistol from the holster.

What those officers do to familiarize themselves with a new holster of this type is they will unload and clear their weapon, then put on their duty gear (uniform belt, superhero utility belt, rig, whatever) and place the unloaded pistol in the retention holster.

Then, they will lie on the floor / ground and roll around and teach themselves how to remove their pistol from as many feasible positions as they can think of. This is so they start the "muscle memory' they need to be able to draw and fire their weapon in a time of heavy stress, which is when they need it the most.

It's said that to effectively develop "muscle memory", a person must perform at least 1,000 repetitions of a short series of movements. This may seem like a great deal of effort, and it may be. But, all that effort will pay off when the time comes and you need to utilize the skills you taught your muscles by repetition. Ask anyone who is serious about Martial Arts how important Muscle Memory is.

The same is very true of camping and Survival skills. And since Survival skills are closely related to at least some sort of primitive camping skills, then I believe we need to develop "Muscle Memory" for our Survival skills.

Muscle Memory is more than just becoming familiar with an action that you may never need. It's said our brain is our largest "muscle" and I am inclined to agree. It needs exercise and challenges just as much as our other muscles.

Let's take your Survival kit you either bought or put together yourself. Can you lay-out each piece of the kit in front of you and honestly say you know how to use each item?

Most Survival equipment including that which we offer on our websites can be used more than once. Can you take the Survival saw out of your kit and find a small branch to cut from a tree? Doing this will show you how the saw works and how to expect it to work when the time comes. I carry one of these in my kits and Bug-Out-Bags (BOBs):

Can you start a fire with a metal match? These are otherwise known as magnesium and steel firestarters. Wouldn't it be wise to practice with your a few times before you actually need it? In this case, thousands of repetitions are not neccesary needed as all you really need with this simple device is a good understanding of how and why it works. Here is one of my personal favorites - The Blastmatch. Fire starters like this take the guesswork out of starting a fire with this method of fire starting:

PLEASE!! If you are going to practice fire starting skills, be aware of your surroundings and environment and weather conditions. If there is a Burn Ban in your area, or it is just to dry to practice, do not attempt any fire starting exercises where there is ANY chance of losing the control of what you are doing.

Need some tinder to try your fire starting methods? How close is your clothes dryer? Grab enough lint to cram into a 35mm film canister and after finding a safe place where you won't accidentally start any catastrophic conflagrations, practice getting a small fire started with some of the lint and a few twigs. Once you have this skill down, make sure you have some of the waterproof / water-resistant type of tinder: and also but remember that the lint you collected can be used to supplement your supply of fire starting materials. And don't forget - it is always advantageous to have at least a small supply of all weather Survival matches.

Why carry Survival matches when you already have a fire starter? That's a fair question, and here is my answer:

Redundancy. It never hurts to have an extra of anything if you can carry it. Why do I carry five different ways to start a fire in my Survival and Bug-Out Bags? Again - an easy explanation as I start with the most basic and work my way down the list:

I carry a Fresnel Lens fire starter in case I need a fire when the sun is out.
At a dollar apiece - no reason not to have several.

I carry a few books of matches for when it is too cloudy or dark and dry, and not too windy.

I carry our NATO All Weather Survival Matches when it is windy and wet:

And I carry the afore-mentioned BlastMatch in my main Survival kit and other variations of other fire starters in my other kits and BOBs:

And at the apex of the Fire Starting tool list is one of these Windmill Storm Proof Survival Lighters

What about all that Paracord you bought (or should be buying) - how are your knot-tying skills? These knot-tying cards are great and take harldy any room in your Survival kit:

All of these items can be practiced with - there is no reason not to!

How about Light Sticks - how can someone practice with a single-use resource?

Easy - take a dry Popsicle stick or any small twig... Bend both ends until you hear and feel a "Snap". I taught a four year old how to "break and shake" a lightstick and activate it... now he knows that he has to hear and feel the breaking of the internal glass capsule to make it glow.

You can also practice reviewing where you keep your Survival kit - BOB where you can find it. Practice finding and leaving with it, and then putting it back in the same place each time.

One last thing for now - share your skills with your kids, spouses, significant others, etc. Redundancy can also apply to knowledge and if you are not available for some reason when the needed skills are called for, your family and loved ones will thank you for taking the time to review these and other skills with them.

Practical knowledge is the most valued of the Survival skills.

"Fortuna favet præparaverat - Fortune Favors the Prepared!"